Melbourne Storm�s Robbie Kearns is eager to assume the role of elder statesmen this week as the Storm look to avenge a humiliating 27-point loss to Souths earlier this year.
With Kearns away on Origin duty the Storm lacked the experience of a wise head against the Rabbitohs in round 13 and the NSW prop is determined to play the role of leader this week, particularly with skipper Stephen Kearney a chance of missing Saturday night�s game.
Kearney is scheduled to line-up for New Zealand on Friday night and will need a remarkable turnaround if he is to back up for the Storm 24 hours later.
In a bid to maintain an element of experience among a group of youngsters Melbourne has tried to ensure that at no stage this year both Kearns and Kearney are missing from the Storm line-up.
�It probably helps to have that older influence in those tight games,� Kearns explained.
�Obviously it is good to have a little bit of experience out there and it�s worked well for us in recent weeks because when Steve (Kearney) wasn�t around I was and the young guys really stood up.�
Kearns � who will play his career out with the Storm after re-signing for a further two years last week � has continued to be Melbourne�s dominant forward this year.
Last week�s epic loss to Brisbane was no exception with the 31-year-old racking up 47 tackles and 21 hitups following his appearance in last week�s State of Origin game three.
�I didn�t obviously get a lot of game time last Wednesday night and I always try to get a fair amount of work under my belt, but I�d give it (Sunday�s effort) all back if we could have won the game,� Kearns lamented.
�The Broncos match was a game that we could have and should have won but we didn�t so we�ve got to consolidate our place in the eight this week against Souths.�
Kearns will be hoping there is no sign of avid Souths fan Russell Crowe this week following his sideline antics with Rabbitohs coach Paul Langmack in the round 13 clash.
�He (Crowe) was lapping the win up and he had every right to, he�s been supporting them for a long time and they haven�t won too many games this year,� the former Storm skipper added.
�But hopefully we can get one back on them this time and maybe even have a few of our own celebrities on the sidelines.
�Last time it was pretty devastating watching the boys go round in that it was a game we most probably should have won.
Meanwhile Storm football manager Greg Brentnall will act as an authority on tackling for AFL club Melbourne in tonight�s hearing against Demon defender Matthew Wheelan at the AFL tribunal.
Wheelan has been booked on a charge of rough play against Hawthorn�s Shane Crawford with Whelan alleged to have dumped the Hawthorn captain in a spear tackle during the first quarter of last week�s match.
Brentnall will offer advice as the Demons seek to have Wheelan�s charge dismissed.